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Shoes Men Should Own

October 5, 2011
TIE SNUG
Ask any guy how many pairs of shoes he owns, and the answer may vary wildly. Some guys are "shoe collectors," who frequently head to the mall to buy the latest style of expensive athletic shoes. Others are minimalists, who alternate between one "casual" pair of shoes and one "dressy" pair of shoes. So what is the ideal number of pairs of shoes that every man should own? In my opinion, it is six. Your shoe wardrobe should include black dress shoes, brown dress shoes, beach/pool shoes, casual loafers, athletic shoes, and fashion sneakers.

Black and brown dress shoes - Of course, you can also look for gray, dark red, or even navy blue dress shoes. But black and brown are essentials. One look that is excellent for men this fall is the monk strap shoe. This type of dress shoe features a strap, rather than laces, that crosses over the top of the shoe, and includes a small buckle on the side. Another dress shoe style that you can't go wrong with is the classic wing tipped oxford. Once you've purchased a pair of leather dress shoes, make sure to care for them properly in order to keep them looking nice and new for a long time. Leather should be moisturized with a leather conditioner once a month to keep it from cracking. Wax polish can also keep leather looking clean and new. If you have suede shoes, however, never use wax polish on them, as this would instantly ruin the material. Instead, use conditioner and waterproofing spray that is made specifically for suede.

Beach/pool shoes - Here is a very important style rule: Your beach and pool shoes should be worn only to these places. A flip-flop should never be worn in place of a real shoe. That being said, you will fair much better with a good quality Reef or Rainbow brand flip-flop than you will with a cheap plastic pair. Yes, they cost more, but they last much longer and look significantly nicer, too. After visiting the beach, rinse of your shoes with clean water in order to remove sand and salt.

Casual loafers - The loafer is an awesomely versatile shoe, and can be worn to fit a number of occasions. Loafers work when you throw on jeans and a sweater to go to the grocery store. They also work with chinos and a button down shirt for a business casual look. Look for loafers with a square or narrowed toe if you want them to look a little more office appropriate. The geometric structure of the shoe's toe will compliment a wide range of tie knots. Conversely, a rounded toe appears a little more casual. Like your dress shoes, properly caring for your loafers will help them to last a long time.

Athletic shoes - Like your beach and pool shoes, your athletic sneakers should be worn only when you are participating in athletic activities. Running shoes with a nice pair of dark wash jeans or chinos is really not a polished look (with these outfits, throw on your loafers instead.) To help keep your shoes looking and smelling fresh, allow them to dry out completely before placing them in your closet. When they need to be freshened up a bit, store them with a dryer sheet tucked into each one. When your sneakers are in need of a good cleaning, wash them in a bucket of cold water and gentle dishwashing detergent. Then, rinse them clean and stuff them with paper towels, then allow them to air dry. Never place leather athletic shoes in the washing machine. You can clean canvas athletic shoes in the washing machine, but make sure to first remove the laces and put them in a mesh bag to give them a little bit of protection.

Fashion sneakers - When you are going to take a walk in the park with your girlfriend, or peruse the downtown area for your favorite hotdog cart, you don't want to wear the same sneakers that you wore to the gym that morning. This is the perfect scenario for a pair of fashion sneakers. These are shoes that have the same comfort as your athletic shoes, but possess a little more panache. You can look for sneakers in interesting fabrics such as wool, or bright colors such as kelly green and cobalt blue. Care for them using the same steps as your athletic shoes.
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